A group of people riding on the back of a boat

5 things to take on your cruise

When you're getting ready for cruise travel, packing can be the hardest part.

When you're getting ready for cruise travel, packing can be the hardest part. What should you take? What should you leave? How are you supposed to know? Don't worry, because we're here to calm a few of the most common fears and suggest our favorite additions to your luggage. Read on to find out what you need to bring:

1. A book that doesn't rely on electricity

As lovely as they are, e-readers can glitch out, lose power and even get damaged during particularly exuberant excursions. To avoid these catastrophes, tuck at least one paperback into your carry-on. That way, you'll have something to read during your down time.

2. A bandana

According to Budget Travel, a bandana can serve a lot of functions, from a towel to a hair tie to a scarf. Consolidating all of these functions into one item can save you room and leave you less frantic about finding a hair tie on those days when it gets windy. In fact, try to think of anything you could bring that could pull double duty (or more) and pack it.

3. All of your winter gear

If you're going to the Arctic in the winter - or really even the fall or spring - you're going to need plenty to bundle up in. Don't leave your gloves, mittens, hat, scarf or boots at home, because you'll really miss them when you get into polar waters. Instead, make sure you've got everything you need to stay warm before you leave.

4. Your preferred over-the-counter medications

While most ships can get you some painkillers or medicine for an upset stomach, bring a small stash of any medications you usually use with you. This will ensure you're comfortable with the kind and amount of medication you have, and you won't have to ask anyone to supply you with it, either.

5. Small versions of essentials

The more room you save in your luggage, the better. So if you're really going to need a pillow to sleep on the flight, go for a miniature or even an inflatable one. Unless you're on a photography cruise or are actually a pro, settle for your smartphone's camera or a tiny digital variety. You may feel like you absolutely need certain cosmetic products, but make sure they're in sample size.